The hike to Hidden Lake is one that should not be passed up when at Glacier National Park. For any age, this is truly an exceptional hike that packs an amazing amount of nature into just 6 short miles. From bighorn sheep, mountain goats and marmots to waterfalls, crystal-clear water and a towering mountain peak, the Hanging Garden Trail offers it all.
The name Hanging Garden Trail comes from the alpine meadows – nicknamed “hanging gardens” – that surrounds this picturesque trail. Along these meadows, the wildlife is truly so abundant that you could mistake some parts for a contained zoo area. Mountain goats and bighorn sheep line the sides of trails and slowly meander about without a care for the constant stream of people passing by. Be sure to keep a safe distance of at least 75 feet from the mountain goats and bighorn sheep. While much less common, wolverines and grizzly bears also pass through this area; for the latter, keep a distance of at least 300 feet (100 yards).
While this entire hike provides picturesque views, the big moment comes 1.5 miles into the hike as you crest a plateau and have a lookout to Hidden Lake in the valley below with the 8,684-foot Bearhat Mountain towering over. From this spectacular lookout, you can continue hiking another 1.5 miles down to the shore of Hidden Lake. The last stretch of this there-and-back trial is the most strenuous, with what is nearly an 800-foot drop in elevation to reach the lake.